Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has dared Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to contest from his Assembly constituency of Sanquelim in North Goa.
Speaking to reporters late on Monday, after attending a series of political meetings chaired by former Maharashtra Chief Minister and BJP’s Goa in-charge Devendra Fadnavis for the 2022 Assembly polls, Sawant also said that mining activity would be restarted in Goa within three months.
Sawant made the Kejriwal reference, after he was asked by reporters about an announcement made by Puti Gaonkar, who heads the Goa Mining People’s Front, that he would be contesting against Sawant due to the latter’s failure to restart the mining in Goa, which has been shut down since 2018.
“It is a good thing. I would suggest that he (Puti Gaonkar) should contest in my constituency. I welcome it. He should contest in Sanquelim… Let Kejriwal also contest,” Sawant said.
Incidentally, Kejriwal arrived in Goa on Monday on a two-day visit to the poll-bound state to campaign for the Aam Aadmi Party in the run up to the 2022 polls. The Sanquelim Assembly constituency is located in the heart of the state’s mining belt.
Speaking on the mining front, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said that his government was sincere about restarting the mining industry in Goa.
“We have formed a mining corporation. We are very serious about it… I am re-assuring that mining activity will resume in a full-fledged manner within three months. I have been seriously making efforts to start mining. People in the mining belt know me,” Sawant said.
Mining activity in Goa was banned by the apex court first in 2012, following the unearthing of a Rs 35,000 crore scam by a judicial commission appointed by the Central government. The Supreme Court allowed the resumption of mining in 2014, it was, however, banned again in 2018, after the apex court pointed to irregularities in the Goa government’s lease renewal processes.